Warli Art India: UK Art Council: A journey, for Art’s sake!

March 12, 2008 at 9:33 am Leave a comment


sunrise morning

March 11th, 2008

 Destination: Bapugoan, Dahanu Village, Maharashtra, India

Purpose: Being part of the Documentation shoot about the Warli art and one of its immense talent: Mr.Ramesh Hengadi.

About the Artist: Mr.Ramesh, will soon be reaching out to the world showcasing his skills and bringing India closer in the art front on the international map. He is from Dahanu, India and is a master craftsmen and artist.

His benign behavior and simplicity will take you off your feet when you see his artworks. He has done his MA and has been into Warli art since a very early age.

The Journey:

I left from home at 5:30 am heading towards Churchgate station where I was to meet Mr. Barney Hare Duke and Mr. Jeremy Theophilus and leave for Dahanu.

I touched the meeting place exactly at 6:50 am and the vehicle arrived with the curious and skilled duo Mr.Barney and Mr. Jeremy.  They both are partners of “A FINE LINE” and are project managers at HAT.

This program was being also funded majorly by the Art council UK.

As I learnt more about their work and about their travel around the world, I found something very interesting. They both actually loved art to the core….And instantaneously I knew that the journey would not be long and would be very informative and a great learning experience.

As Mr. Jeremy explained to me about their study on varied cultures, different art forms, distinctly varied media, about the totally unique cultures that each country offered them and the new discoveries about customs, traditions, people that they acquired, made the journey very much interesting for me. Mr. Barney told me about their research plans, documentary shoot about the artists and the art form at Dahanu village.

I then also came to know that I was going to meet the artist Mr.Ramesh in about half an hour, as he had travelled more than half the way so as to direct us to his home.  

As my cellular phone rang and Mr.Ramesh enquired about where we had reached, we finalized on one point of meet and then…. I met the talented to the core artist.

As he got into the vehicle and the questions about his village and art work kept barging, his soft spoken ways and smile eased the pace of questions from our side. We were closer to reaching the destination and as we looked around, we saw my country, India with its beautiful crude beauty. The sceneries around were breathtaking and very picturesque.

In a total of 2 ½ hours, we touched his home and were greeted by his mother with ‘Aarti & red Tilak’.

The whole place looked very neat, clean and was stunningly beautiful. The people there were living a very simple life with limited resources and means, but were living happily.

Why wouldn’t they be, one of their artist was being recognized for his work and was being interviewed and documented on, before he left for UK to showcase his talent.

We went inside his home, met his big and hospitable family and within half an hour or so we were out, for exploring his village, their culture, traditions, their way of life etc. We saw his school, as his brothers, friends and other villagers took us around the whole village. We saw how they grinded wheat, rice etc, and the way the kids were taught to greet the elders and anyone who was new to their homeland.

They explained to us of their faith in the god, “Vagobha” meaning ‘The Tiger’ whom they worshiped in idol and symbolic form. They took us to that temple that was built and has been maintained since generations.

We obviously found dust and mud all around us, but yet, the air was amazingly fresh and there was absolutely no pollution. So, in other words, I was having difficulty breathing the fresh air…. Hmmm…. Only pure oxygen to breathe. Being from the polluted side of the world, I had no idea how to take that in… but I managed and survived.

The village was amazingly clean which reminded me of the media coverage and other hoardings begging our city dwellers to keep the city clean. There were dustbins in the village and the garbage was properly disposed.

It reminded me of the ‘ruffles lays’ packet that was thrown out in the middle of the road by one of the Honda city owners kid while we were leaving in the vehicle for Dahanu today morning. So much for a civilized city, Huh!

As I came out of the horrible flashback, back to the clean and fresh village of Dahanu, Ramesh’s brothers and friends showed us few other houses and the art works and the style in which the house had been designed and coloured, amazed all of us. It was clean, neat, colourfull and had motifs and other different wall paintings on the in and outside of the house walls. They had kept God idols etc hanging from the ceiling, painted the invite to the wedding in the houses where marriages had taken place, the lamps and wedding turbans that were hanging on the nails on the wooden pillars of their houses. Even with so much humidity and heat, the inside of the houses were cool because of the cow dung plastered on their walls.

The massive support that the whole village showered on its talented son, Mr.Ramesh H was something that one could feel so much positively in the air with such strong and happy vibes that were hovering across the whole village.

We then feasted our eyes to the amazing Tarpa dance while the Head Tarpa player (who was easily in his seventies) played the amazing looking musical instrument and the other dancers, performers and singers showed us their skills and brought us closer to the village, people and their art forms. They danced, hopped, twisted and turned greeting us and sang songs of THE GAURI (the God and Goddess) and the harvesting of crops which were very important aspects of the village life.

Later on as we looked at the Warli art, it was very clear that the Tarpa dance, the Tarpa, the harvesting process of crops and the gods, idols, temples, their faith, religion and worship played a massively important role in their upbringing and were vividly seen in their Warli art.

We travelled across to majority of the places and areas learning about Warli art and were gifted to watch the young artists and the master of Warli art at work. As the master craftsmen Mr.Ramesh and the 10 year old Ashish with his friends and elder brothers Rajesh, Ramesh took small pieces of cloth dipped in their soil / mud and cow dung, which had dried up now to look like a great canvas place for their art to be etched or created, they slowly began the magic.

As we watched their undivided attention and focus on their art being converted to shapes, forms, figures we could see that they were actually creating the different dances and performances that we had just seen their today, few hours ago. It looked amazingly alive and breathtakingly beautiful. The flow and the rhythm of the art work were exquisite.

Throughout as Mr.Barney and Mr.Jeremy were shooting the whole thing and taking notes, I had a real blast as I could not only learn about the art of warli, but also meet such sweet, skilled and amazingly talented people and learn so much about my own culture of the village life in India.

By the end of the day after taking rounds of the places where the master artist usually works, where he gets his inspiration from, later on we also caught a glimpse at the various artworks created by his wife on cloth, t-shirts, Ramesh’s unique combination of using the gourd vegetable to be used as pots, moulds and create amazingly exquisite showpieces of Warli art on it, we headed back to the vehicle. Mr. Jeremy treated us to a nice lunch and we then headed back home.

The journey back home was very much different than the way it began.

There was so much curiosity and so many queries when we had started at the crack of dawn, but as we headed back home, I was filled with so much awe of the humbleness, simplicity of their lives and pure art that I could feel rushing inside my head. I rested in the comfortable and BIG Chevrolet and went back home with a day, that was fun, had a huge learning experience, meeting brilliant artists, great people, the partners of A FINE LINE who had shown so much respect and love for the art and Indian culture…..

(For pictures of this whole journey, click on the link below: http://ananthvclicks.wordpress.com)

The day had ended with the setting sun and I was grateful to a very good friend of mine, Mrs. Neela Shinde for introducing me to the brilliant researchers from UK, was Thankful to both, Jeremy and Barney for such a wonderful journey and humbled by the loving and talented villagers at Dahanu.

God bless art and artists for spreading so much life, culture, love, passion hope and dreams all around us.

Be well

Ananthanarayanan V

http://ananthvclicks.com

http://techdivine.cgsociety.org

http://www.art.in/artists/ananthanarayanan-v.htm

http://stores.lulu.com/techdivine  

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Entry filed under: Art & Investing, Creativity & Know-you, Dreamers Playfield: Entrepreneur, Education & Learning, India, Life, Symbolism, travel, Work Life, world. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Just Another day of skill and fun at TD studios – By Anandhapadmanabhan Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

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